First international feedbacks for Im Sang-soo’s The Housemaid:
Unfortunately The Housemaid is half a good movie, a great set-up which falls off track in the last 30 to 45 minutes.
Tasty, full of black humour, but finally upended by the mannerist games it plays so ably, erotic thriller The Housemaid is a smart but shallow remake of Kim Ki-young’s cult 1960 Korean movie of the same name.
the film has serious flaws, notably the abrupt and awkward character transition of the lead role, plot developments are glaringly melodramatic, exploding in an ending that not only defies script logic but is sure to incense pro-Kim purists. But the three female leads’ high voltage chemistry, the sumptuous mis en scene, stylish symmetric compositions and lilting (perhaps Wong Kar-wai influenced) string score offers such sensory pleasure while pacing is so smooth that two hours seem to glide by imperceptibly.
A film that should be all about suspense just trundles along, chucking in tenuous plot points without ever really earning the right to. The absurd finale is less the explosion of a ticking timebomb hoped for by the director and more a “really?” moment leaving you smirking rather than gasping.
[The film] is undoubtedly genre fare rather than an art movie, but it’s mostly an enjoyable suspense drama, well acted, pleasingly paced and possessed of enough subtle twists to hold the attention… The problem is that when vengeance finally raises its murderous head, it doesn’t make for as effective dramatic climax as it should have.
• MoviePlayer (Italia)
[The film] is developed with size and elegance throughout the first part, but when the story comes alive, the tone changes radically: what was previously suggested subtly becomes explicit…
If it is not without weaknesses, this remake of The Housemaid demonstrates of an incredible management illustrative effects with particular attention to the framework and how the characters move in space or living place.